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Name: Guillaume Desilets
Age: 27
Height: 171 cm
Weight: 135 lbs
Birthplace: Montreal
Current Residence: Val-David, Quebec
Sports: cycling, yoga, bodybuilding

Why did you become vegan?

A girlfriend introduced me to vegetarianism in 2000. To me, at that time, there was no question like whether to eat meat or not to eat meat, nor any questions about nutrition at all -- as long as I could put some food into my mouth I was happy. But it took this to make me realize things, about what's healthy or not, and how our societies treat and use animals for food. Sometimes you have to try by yourself to see and understand: "hey I don't eat meat and I'm fine, so I don't need it, and nobody needs it". To me, drinking milk from cows has always been something quite ridiculous to do for us, humans, but then I became more and more interested by general health, nutrition and sports.

I started to quit all addictions and bad habits (cigarettes, wine, coffee, all animal products) and to do more sports. Without any support from people around me (especially the negative persons), it was a long road for changes. That's where some books helped me, like those by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton and also Danielle Starenkyj, as well as some on nutrition for athletes and on living foods. First, the health aspect of veganism was what motivated me, but it was like if the transition was always too difficult. It's only once I started to really consider all the other aspects of veganism that everything became more clear and the transition to a better way of living went by itself. The ethical and environmental aspects of it, the respect for others, the planet on which we live, the life of animals. I was focused only on myself, then I became more open to the others. People can say whatever they want, but no book, person or movie can take decisions for you, and one can only understand the merits of veganism once he or she fully experience it, with trials and mistakes, and then by living it in happiness.

When and why did you become interested in fitness?

I think I always liked to do sports. Not really at school (although it was still my favorite subject, tied with the visual arts). I got interested in fitness because I was already in it as far as I can remember, always felt the need to move. Then I developped that passion for always go foward and evolve. There's no point on staying where I am or going back, I need to change and improve myself.

How would you describe your nutrition program?

My goal is to acheive superior nutrition -- which I consider being a 100% raw vegan diet, and, ultimately, fruitarianism. It's a goal, but I enjoy where I am on the path right now, even though it's not perfect but that's what I feel comfortable with right now. Basically, I try to eat mostly raw and whole foods that are grownt organic, local or fairtrade. I eat according to what we can consider a "bulking" phase for 2x4 months per year, and a "cutting" period for 2x2 months/year. And within the bulking season, I include some cutting, 3:1 ratio on a weekly basis. And vice-versa: the cutting phase include 1-3 days/week of bulking. I incorporate regular fastings (one day/week, or 3 days/month, or 1 month/year) for the health benefits. I can eat some junk food once in a while, as long as fruits and greens stay the most part of my diet. In the morning I eat as much fruits as I want. I just don't mix acidic fruits with sweet fruits, and I try to follow also the other food combining rules, as I believe a healthy digestion is necessary for being healthy. I eat one or two large green salads per day as a meal or before a meal. This year, I might try a diet very high in complex carbs, very low in fats, and moderate in proteins. Lots of fruits, bread, pastas, beans, rice, quinoa and other grains, yams, carrots, green salads... I try to avoid wheat and soy (especially transgenic) because they are allergens to everybody (on different levels) . Finally, as I live in a northern climate where summer and winter are like day and night, my diet is divided in two distinct parts, one with more consistent and yang foods, the other more light, raw and refreshing -- lots of salads, fruits and water.

How would you describe your training program?

During summer, I like training outside, doing many mini-sessions of circuit training using mostly my bodyweight, and I do cycling everyday the weather allows it. I like this rule (I think Matthew McConaughey said it): to sweat at least one hour per day, everyday. In winter, I like lifting heavy weights in the gym, as well as practicing my favorite interior sports, like badminton. I usually don't have a fix program and schedule for bodybuilding, because that make it seem like a work, as though I must do and it also reduces the creative aspect of bodybuilding. I prefer having all the infinite possibilities of training programs in my head and play with that, changing depending on the present moment. In winter I'm also jogging outside or walking long distances. I have a passion for martial arts, Bruce Lee being my favorite martial artist (and he was vegetarian). I studied Judo when I was a kid, but that was a long time ago, so now I'm thinking about learning mui thai and kung fu. Doing regular physical activity provides me the right positive energy. I need my daily dose of intense physical efforts, otherwise I feel there's something that is not working normally that day.

What kind of supplements do you use if any, and why?

I bought and tried some at a certain time, almost all that I could find, just to try, not by strong personal conviction that I needed them, but perhaps I got influenced by the outside (publicities, health propaganda). I don't use any since a long time. Now I might put some nutritional yeast flakes on my spaghetti sometimes, or use some hemp protein powder in some recipes, but that's it. I don't think supplements are a necessity for athletes, even when the amount of training is greater then what would be considered as "normal" or "natural". So let's say supplements are to prevent or reduce effects of over-training. Why supplement with supplements? Supplement with food, and the notion of overtraining will become almost nonexistant. As for "soft" supplements, I drink green tea once in a while, or dark chocolate. I may even drink an energy drink or espresso, but it's so rare, that my body don't get accustomed to these amounts and the caffeine preserves it's full effect at each time.

What are some common misconceptions about veganism?

There are many general misconceptions about vegans and veganism, due mostly to ignorance, which is in part due to what the media choose to show to society. The biggest misconception is of course the protein question, which is way more than just a misconception. It's the protein myth and now it's misinformation and ignorance, causing prejudice. Media, governments and agrobusiness keep this myth alive to serve their interests. Most people are also afraid to change and afraid of changes.

What do you think the most important aspect of fitness is?

There's many aspects of fitness from which we can all benefit, in the immediate and in the future, for yourself and for the others. Improved general health, better intellectual and physical capacities, as well as a better appearance. It is also proven that staying active during most of your life have a good impact on your body and brain for your older days, being fit at the age of 100. It's also a very good way to interact with other people. When practicing a sport makes you happy, you spread that energy to the persons around you and that contributes to make a better world. If fitness and creativity were more privileged in schools, like more time for arts, yoga, meditation classes and more sports, and less mathematics, numbers, words, rational logistic thinking... sometimes too much is not enough. I have the conviction that we would live in a better world, with more creativity and less wars. Physical activity is an act of creation just like painting, only it works in a different way -- you draw energy from your creativity. If we use bodybuilding as an example, you actually build your body, like a sculptor does on an inert object, and martial arts are a way of expressing yourself through your body.

What do you like best about being vegan?

My body and mind found the perfect balance to live in. It may sound funny, but what I like the best about being vegan IS being vegan. It is one of the things I like the most about my life, about myself, and one of the things I'm really proud of! I like to remind myself how many animals I saved. Soon it will be a thousand lives, based on the approximate number of 100/year. So it's really sad and untrue to say that one person have no impact on the planet. "Be the change you wish to see in the world". Even though the world is far from being perfect, being vegan gives me a peace of mind and good conscience, good karma.

What do you like best about being fit?

I like the fact that I can achieve more things and that it allows me to perform better. I prefer also the way I look now that I'm fit, so it makes me feel better about myself.

What are your strengths as an athlete?

I have some good endurance, for long bike rides, and enough power for sprints and climbing. Good tolerance to pain. I know I have nothing to lose, everything to win. My body adapts quickly. My vision of fitness encompasses qualities of strength, speed, endurance, flexibility and coordination, so I train in a way to improve myself in each of these five. The first three being my strengths.

What advice do you have for vegan athletes who are just starting out?

Being a vegan and being an athlete, you're already on the right track and you know what you're doing, keep going! Just don't let anybody tell you what you should do or not do, because nobody can understand or know you better than yourself. I would suggest to do always your best and always aim for better.

What advice do you have for people who are thinking of becoming vegan?

Make a slow, smooth transition, don't struggle with anything. Even though quiting animal products is similar to trying to quit smoking, it's about quitting bad and old habits and addictions, don't force things too much but let the time come. Find your right motivations, know what you want and why you do it, do what you feel is right, and you'll see that the change will come from within you in a natural way.

What motivates you to continue to be a successful vegan athlete?

The same thing that motivated me to start training. What's good is that we can never accomplish all of our goals and there's always place for improvement.

How has the website http://www.veganbodybuilding.com helped or inspired you?

I had the chance to discover veganbodybuilding.com during the beginning of my journey into veganism and it helped me to be part of that world and not be alone, I found many other vegan athletes just like me who shared the same passions and interests, I've discovered a wide range of products with the links, a mountain of pertinent informations.